Jun 09 2014

Mike Munro among Queen’s Birthday Honours

mikemunro_0001Newsreader Mike Munro (pictured), TV vet Dr Harry Cooper, sporting commentators Ray Warren and Phil Gould, members of The Seekers and TV presenter Richard Wilkins are among those to be awarded in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2014.


Professor Paul Grabowsky — “For distinguished service to music as a performer, composer, educator and mentor, and through significant contributions to the arts as an administrator.” Professor Grabowsky became known on television in the early 1990s as music director for Tonight Live With Steve Vizard. Other television credits include dramas Phoenix and Janus, hosting Access All Areas and as Commissioning Editor for ABC in the late 1990s.

theseekersAthol Guy, Judith Durham, Bruce Woodley, Keith Potger — “For distinguished service to the performing arts as an entertainer, through seminal contributions to Australian music, and as a supporter of a range of not-for-profit organisations.” The four performers formed popular singing group The Seekers (pictured) in the 1960s and collectively were awarded Australians Of The Year for 1967. Athol Guy later worked in television as host of A Guy Called Athol and The Big 9 and as a talent judge on New Faces.

Sandra Levy — “For distinguished service to the arts as a film and television director and producer, and through strategic leadership and educational roles.” Sandra Levy is currently Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Film Television And Radio School. She has also worked as a producer for Southern Star Xanadu and held executive roles for ABC and the Nine Network.

Dr Zygmunt (Ziggy) Switkowski — “For distinguished service to the community, particularly to tertiary education administration, scientific organisations and the telecommunications sector, to business, and to the arts.” Dr Switkowski is a former Chairman of Optus Vision and President of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI)


Angela Catterns — “For significant service to the broadcast media industry as a radio presenter, and to social welfare organisations.” Early in her career Angela Catterns worked at regional television station CBN8 (Orange, NSW), was a reporter for Simon Townsend’s Wonder World and a producer/researcher for SBS.

Phil Gould — “For significant service to rugby league football as an administrator, commentator, coach and player, and to the community.” Phil Gould has been a commentator of rugby league for the Nine Network since the 1990s.

Virginia Haussegger — “For significant service to the community, particularly as an advocate for women’s rights and gender equity, and to the media.” Virginia Haussegger is a former journalist for the Seven and Nine networks and has worked for The 7.30 Report in Melbourne and Darwin. She is currently journalist and news presenter for ABC News in Canberra.

Mike Munro — “For significant service to journalism as a television current affairs reporter and presenter, and to the community as an ambassador for a range of charitable organisations.” Mike Munro has over 30 years experience in television with credits including 60 Minutes, This Is Your Life, Willesee, A Current Affair, Nine News, What A Year, Missing Persons Unit, Sunday Night and is currently weekend news presenter for Ten Eyewitness News. He was awarded TV Reporter Of The Year at the TV Week Logie Awards in 1985.

Richard Wilkins — “For significant service to the community through a range of charities, and to the entertainment industry.” Richard Wilkins was host of MTV for the Nine Network before becoming the network’s entertainment editor, including working on New Year’s Eve telecasts, ARIA Awards, TV Week Logie Awards and Today.

Eleanor Witcombe — “For significant service to the arts as a writer for radio, film, television and theatre.” Eleanor Witcombe was a scriptwriter for The Mavis Bramston Show, Number 96 and Water Under The Bridge. Television writing credits also include Smugglers Beware, Seven Little Australians, Jonah and The Harp In The South.


Dr Harry Cooper — “For service to veterinary science and animal welfare, and as an author and presenter.” Dr Harry Cooper was a presenter on Burke’s Backyard, Talk To The Animals and Harry’s Practice. Since 2004 he has been a presenter on Better Homes And Gardens.

Vaughan Hinton — “For service to the media through television production, and to the community of Monbulk.” Vaughan Hinton is a producer and consultant for ABC, working on programs including Blackout, First Australians and Compass. He was also Executive Producer for outside broadcasts of Anzac Day marches and Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

Ray Warren — “For service to the broadcast media industry as a sports commentator.” Ray Warren has been a commentator of rugby league since 1974, formerly for the Ten Network and since 1989 at Nine.

Rob Weekes — “For service to the broadcast media industry as a producer and director, and to the community.” Rob Weekes was a director for The Magic Circle Club, Good Morning Mr Doubleday and The Long Arm and later producer/director for the long-running Countdown. He also produced ABC‘s television coverage of the Commonwealth Games in 1982 and 1986.

Source: Governor-General Of AustraliaAngela Catterns. TV Week, 10 February 1968.




Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2014/06/mike-munro-among-queens-birthday-honours.html

Jun 08 2014

When Beatlemania came to Australia

beatles_0003It is 50 years since The Beatles toured Australia. It was the biggest pop culture event to hit our shores in the 1960s – providing scenes of hysteria not seen again until ABBA came to Australia a decade later.

Beatlemania was everywhere in 1964. It was a rare week if TV Week and TV Times magazines, then the dominant barometers of popular culture, had failed to feature a front cover or report anything on the fab four. In the lead up to the Australian tour TV Times had featured special listings of Beatle lyrics. The magazine also ran a competition — Beaticles — where readers were invited to send in sketches of their own Beatle-inspired creations. “The more way-out your idea is the better, so long as it isn’t “sick”,” TV Times suggested to potential artists. The contest offered weekly prizes of a Beatles record with the grand prize of £50 worth of records of the winner’s choosing.

beatles_0001TV Week then upped the stakes with its Beatles contest: “Win a lock of Paul McCartney‘s hair!”

TV Week also published a book, cover-to-cover of nothing but The Beatles — “The Beatles in colour. The Beatles at home. The Beatles at play. What are the Beatles REALLY like? See a REAL Beatle hairdo!”

Inevitably with such public hysteria over the band’s arrival in Australia, the media clamoured for a piece of Beatles action — and it started before they had even touched down.

beatlesTheir arrival in Sydney, from Hong Kong, was scheduled for around 7.30am on Thursday 11 June. From 5.00am radio stations were already covering the scene of the relatively small group of 750 fans (and an estimated 400 police) who had gathered outside a rain-soaked Mascot airport from the night before. Sydney’s TCN9 was there to cover the event. The wonders of the coaxial cable meant that Melbourne viewers would also get to see the group’s arrival.

Despite all the hype and the cheers of the enthusiastic crowd, the live TV broadcast of the Beatles arriving at Sydney failed to impress TV Times critic FC Kennedy:

“Watching the arrival in Australia of The Beatles on TV was poor compensation for climbing out of bed before dawn. Though the technicians who brought in the outdoor broadcast worked a minor miracle, Sydney, that unpredictable city, let them down. An hour’s delay in the arrival of the Beatle aircraft left the producer with nothing to do but sweep the soggy airport. Occasionally, commentators Johnny O’Keefe and John Bailey quizzed bedraggled teenagers on how long they had waited and who was their favourite Beatle.

“I hung around my TV set until the Beatles had made one appearance on the hotel balcony in pouring rain. After that I switched off. Even with a tight roof over my head the telecast was too wet for me.”

beatles_0004While The Beatles (including “fifth Beatle” Jimmy Nicol, filling in for drummer Ringo Starr who was delayed in joining the Australian tour due to illness) were having some rest in Sydney before heading to Adelaide to start their four-city tour, TV continued to feed the Beatlemania hype. ABC presented a half-hour special, B Day, narrated and produced by Kit Denton (father of Andrew Denton). B Day sought to analyse The Beatles’ trade marks, namely their mop-top hair and distinctive tunes, and interviewed fans as well as public officials charged with making their arrival in Sydney a success.

On Saturday evening ABC screened the special Beatles edition of British pop show Ready, Steady, Go, produced by Australian Robert Fleming for British channel Rediffusion London. In Melbourne, HSV7 had made a last minute program schedule change, with the one-hour special Around The Beatles, screening at 7.30pm. The Age previewed the program, also from Rediffusion, as “possibly the most entertaining show yet taped featuring the group”.

Seven also had two other Beatles specials ready to roll over the following nights — Sydney radio man Bob Rogers‘ half-hour report on The Beatles and the second British-produced Big Night Out With The Beatles special. (The first had aired in Australia some months earlier)

Sunday mid-afternoon saw The Beatles land in Melbourne. Both HSV7 and GTV9 had set up outside broadcasts to catch the first glimpse of the band’s arrival at Essendon Airport. Both channels also bumped afternoon programs from their regular timeslots to cover the band’s press conference at the Southern Cross Hotel, where an estimated 20,000 fans had gathered outside to see their pop star idols.

Having performed in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, by the end of the month as their Australian tour was drawing to a close, Beatles member John Lennon was the speaker on ABC’s Guest Of Honour radio program. His speech, later printed in full in the ABC-published TV Times, covered various topics including the band’s formation, his home town of Liverpool, some of his artistic inspirations and highlights of the Australian tour:

“I thought I’d like to take this opportunity, because we’re coming to the end of this Australian trip and, you know, we’d just like to thank everybody — you know, from police to Lord Mayors. (Even though we were misquoted about not liking Lord Mayors, we do like them as much as everybody else, and they’re all very nice) And all the receptions we’ve been to were all well handled (which a lot of them aren’t sometimes). And we’d just like to thank everybody in Australia, because it seems as if we’ve met everybody or at least seen them outside a window, although we were disappointed we didn’t see any Aborigines. We just thank you all very much, and goodbye.”

beatles_0006The third and final Melbourne concert was videotaped and later broadcast as the one-hour special The Beatles Sing For Shell, shown on the National Television Network (now the Nine Network) and regional stations early in July — just days after The Beatles had bid farewell to Australia.

The Beatles Sing For Shell was later reported as one of the most-watched TV specials of the decade, averaging a rating of 53.5 (per cent of households) across both Sydney and Melbourne.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ only Australian tour, ABC is screening a special, When The Beatles Drove Us Wild, Tuesday 10 June, 8.30pm, ABC1.

Source: The Age, 11 June 1964, 15 June 1964. TV Week, 14 March 1964, 4 July 1964. TV Times, 24 June 1964, 8 July 1964. Australian TV: The First 25 Years, 1981.

YouTube: KlassicKlips4U





Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2014/06/when-beatlemania-came-to-australia.html

Jun 04 2014

1994: June 4-10

tvweek_040694Cover: Tori Spelling (Beverly Hills 90210)

Michelle back to nurse ACP’s ratings
Michelle Pettigrove didn’t follow A Country Practice when it shifted from the Seven Network to Ten. With ratings for the ‘new’ ACP needing improvement, and the loose ends left by her prolonged disappearance from Wandin Valley, Pettigrove is returning for one episode to explain her character Kate’s decision to separate from husband Dr Harry Morrison (Andrew Blackman). “Yes, Michelle has agreed to return and film an episode,” a Ten spokesperson told TV Week. “It is a few months away and they haven’t written the episode yet, but nurse Kate Bryant will be back to say goodbye to the Valley.”

Forced to choose
Blue Heelers star William McInnes was driving one day when he got pulled over by a police officer. “He flashed his lights and waved at me, and I thought, ‘Oh no’,” McInnes told TV Week. “I pulled over and he said, ‘You’re a cop, aren’t you?’ He was having a bit of a gag. He just wanted to have a chat about the show.” McInnes says talking to real police officers about their jobs helps keep him in touch with his character Nick Schultz’s background. This week’s episode of Blue Heelers sees Senior-Constable Schultz having to choose between his commitment to the police force and to his girlfriend Jennifer (Belinda McClory). “The great thing about working on a series like this is you build up your character from week to week, and every once in a while you get a really good episode,” he said.

Alex in wonderland!
Attitude reporter Alex Tarney is looking forward to the challenge facing the show as it moves from 9.30pm Wednesday to 7.30pm Saturday in August. The move will put the program up against Hey Hey It’s Saturday (Nine), A Country Practice (Ten) and the new US series Lois And Clark (Seven). “It is a big move,” she told TV Week. “But I’m sure there’s a lot of people who don’t want to watch either of those shows, so hopefully we’ll be able to make a bit of a mark. We’ve had a lot of support from within the ABC.”


  • Law Of The Land star Peter O’Brien is the hot tip to replace David Reyne on Nine‘s Getaway.
  • Former Newlyweds star Cathy Godbold will soon be appearing in a guest role on Hey Dad! “I’m Ben’s (Ben Oxenbould) ex. I’ve decided to try and get him back, so I turn up with a story about a rich fiance to make Ben jealous,” she told TV Week. “To try and avoid me, he makes up a story saying he’s engaged to Tracy (Belinda Emmett). I break down and tell him the truth, and so does he, then the comedy follows.” Godbold, daughter of former TV presenter Rosemary Margan, has also filmed a guest role for Blue Heelers. “It was for a 16-year-old, tough, semi-alcoholic prostitute. So opposite to anything I’ve ever done. It’s so different to Newlyweds!”
  • billycrystal“It’s come to this… chatting to an ostrich,” said Hollywood star Billy Crystal, in Australia to promote the film City Slickers II, having a chat with Daryl Somers and Ossie Ostrich in Sydney. The interview was mostly serious but ended with Crystal recreating a scene from earlier film Throw Momma From The Train — with Daryl and Ossie both copping a whack from a frying pan.
  • Former A Country Practice star Brian Wenzel is returning to the theatre for his first stage role in 23 years. He is starring in David Williamson‘s Brilliant Lies as the father of a woman who accuses her boss of sexual harassment. “I accepted the role because he’s an incredible change from (ACP character) Frank Gilroy,” Wenzel told TV Week. Meanwhile, the actor is reserving judgement on the revamped ACP which hasn’t rated so well since debuting on Ten. “I wish it well, the main reason being I like to see Australian actors in work,” he said. “I notice they haven’t said anything yet about what happened to Frank Gilroy. I just hope they don’t say he’s in an old folks’ home, because he was too strong a person for that.”

Lawrie Masterson: The View From Here

“There was a lot of shock and horror surrounding the recent publication of pictures of (Molly) Meldrum and a former girlfriend, Joy Antonie, with whom he had supposedly had a “bizarre marriage pact”. The Sydney newspapers jumped on the bandwagon days later — typically — and there was much ado. Here at TV Week we were shocked and horrified too… mainly because we’d already run the story and pictures. Nine years ago!”

Program Highlights (Melbourne, June 4-10, 1994):
Saturday: Australia takes on Italy in 12th Women’s Basketball World Championships (4.45pm, ABC). In A Country Practice (7.30pm, Ten), Ian’s (Paul Gleeson) joy at finding a family of possums turns to horror when he finds them sick from toxic waste.

Sunday: Sunday AFL includes Sydney Swans versus North Melbourne (2pm, Seven) and Melbourne versus West Coast Eagles (5pm, Seven). Sunday night movies are 1492: Conquest Of Paradise (Seven), Quick Change (repeat, Nine) and Marked For Death (repeat, Ten).

Monday: In Home And Away (7pm, Seven), Jack’s (Daniel Amalm) decision not to partner Selina (Tempany Deckert) to the debutante ball lands him in the firing lane. The Talk Show (7.30pm, SBS) features social scientist Hugh MacKay and journalist Richard Glover as they talk about masculinity, the male ego and the changing role of men in society. This week’s Frontline (8pm, ABC) covers the fictional current affairs show’s attempts to contact a gunman holed up in a farmhouse with several hostages. Interview series Ray Martin Presents (8.30pm, Nine) features Billy Crystal and Jodie Foster. Seven presents a Normandy D Day Celebration special from the US, hosted by newscaster Walter Kronkite, commemorating the 50th anniversary of D Day.

Tuesday: In GP (8.30pm, ABC), Ian (Tony Llewellyn-Jones) leads the Dean family through their emotional crises, but feels responsible for the drug arrest of their son.

Wednesday: In Heartbreak High (7.30pm, Ten), the school dance is on and the place is abuzz with gossip and speculation, while Con (Salvatore Coco) organises Jodie (Abi Tucker) to sing with the band. In Hey Dad (8pm, Seven), Arthur (Matthew Krok) is sick and tired of being constantly ordered around by Tracy (Belinda Emmett) and Ben (Ben Oxenbould) and plots his revenge.

Thursday: Beyond 2000 (7.30pm, Ten) reports on the Luxor Pyramid, a new Las Vegas theme park with a casino and hotel large enough to house nine 747s and home to world’s wildest virtual reality system. Actress Sarah Chadwick guest stars in The Damnation Of Harvey McHugh (8.30pm, ABC).

Friday: Neighbours star Bruce Samazan hosts the new country music program Stampede (6pm, ABC). In Rex Hunt’s The Great Outdoors (7.30pm, Seven), guest reporter Rebekah Elmaloglou visits the Out Bound camp in Victoria’s Grampians, Frankie J Holden joins a group of boat enthusiasts, and Penny Cook is shown how all the essentials for camping can fit into one backpack.

Source: TV Week (Melbourne edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide. 4 June 1994. Southdown Press.



Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2014/06/1994-june-4-10.html

Jun 01 2014

Ten to stage Family Feud revival

grantdenyerFamily Feud, the classic game show format, is set for a revival on Network Ten.

While the format revival is not a huge surprise — it had been circulating around the industry rumour mill for some time — the choice of host is an unlikely one. Former Sunrise weatherman and Seven Network host Grant Denyer (pictured) has signed on for the new show.

The Sunday Telegraph reports that Denyer’s contract with Seven, where he had previously hosted Australia’s Got Talent, It Takes Two, Slideshow and Million Dollar Minute and appeared as a contestant on Dancing With The Stars, expired last week and he was offered the Ten role via his former Seven Network boss Peter Meakin, now news director at Ten.

Prior to joining Seven Denyer had been a presenter for Ten’s motor sports coverage.

The new Family Feud is expected to be taped in Melbourne and be screened in the 6.00pm timeslot — up against top rating news bulletins on Seven and Nine. Ten has struggled in the 6.00pm timeslot for years, in particular since its ill-fated current affairs venture with George Negus in 2011. Recent repeats of The Simpsons and Modern Family in the timeslot have failed to give the network any ratings joy.

Ten has also tried a number of game show formats in the 6.00pm timeslot over the years — including Jeopardy (1993) with Tony Barber, Battle Of The Sexes (1998) with Ed Phillips and dating show Taken Out (2008).

tonybarberFamily Feud first appeared on Australian TV in 1977. Tony Barber hosted the first version (pictured), produced by Reg Grundy Organisation at TVW7 in Perth. When the program was bought for screening by Nine in Sydney and Melbourne production shifted to Melbourne’s GTV9 in 1979. Daryl Somers took over as host in 1980 after Barber began his long stint hosting Sale Of The Century. Somers handed over to Sandy Scott for the show’s final year in 1984.

The format was revived by the Seven Network in 1989 with host Rob Brough and later John Deeks. It continued through to 1996. As well as the weekday series Seven also had success with a celebrity version of the show on Saturday nights.

bertsfamilyfeudNine revisited Family Feud again in 2006 when it launched as Bert’s Family Feud, hosted by Bert Newton, marking his return to the network after 20 years. Bert’s Family Feud struggled up against Seven’s popular Deal Or No Deal but continued until mid-2007. Despite its low ratings Newton still managed to score a Gold Logie nomination.

An airdate for the new Family Feud is yet to be announced.

Source: Sunday Telegraph, Wikipedia, TV Times, The Celebrity Bureau



Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2014/06/ten-to-stage-family-feud-revival.html

May 29 2014

1994: May 28-June 3

tvweek_280594Cover: Kimberley Davies (Neighbours)

Court in the act!
The Supreme Court on Victoria is set to break tradition and allow cameras into the court for filming of ABC‘s upcoming new series, Janus. The 26-part series stars Chris Haywood, Tracy Mann, Louise Siversen, Felix Nobis, Jeremy Kewley, Leverne McDonnell, Brett Swain, Val Levkowicz and Simon Westaway reprising his Phoenix role of Sen-Sgt Peter Faithful. “There will be no disruption at all to normal court procedure. Filming will occur out of hours, in the evenings, early mornings or at weekends — most probably the latter,” the court’s acting chief executive officer Bruce McLean told TV Week. Because the court precinct is a public area and the property of the State of Victoria, there will be no charge for ABC to access the area for filming. Janus, due to screen later in the year, follows the story of the lawyers, judges, magistrates and police through six months of prosecutions against a well-known criminal family.

ryankwantenHey Dad! girl puckers up
Hey Dad teenager Jenny (Angela Keep) has often talked about boys — and now she’s got one. “Jenny’s had boyfriends in the show but I don’t think they’ve ever been shown on TV, just talked about,” Keep told TV Week. “This time, Tracy (Belinda Emmett) knows the signs — knows Jenny’s being secretive, getting home late — and figures she has a boyfriend. Jenny wants Greg (Mark Owen-Taylor) to be uptight so she can rebel a bit. When she tells Tracy that, she tells Greg — and he screams at us when we return home from the movies. Jenny’s really happy. In her group of friends, it’s cool to get grounded!” Jenny’s new boyfriend Richard is played by 17-year-old Ryan Kwanten.

brookevandenbergGoing for Brooke!
Jane Kennedy was warned against a career in journalism by her former journalist father — and while she did start out as a newsreader on Melbourne radio station Triple M, her knack of breaking into laughter while reading serious news stories soon led to her joining the D Generation, then presenting the breakfast program on the station. Now, Kennedy is going back to her journalistic roots in the name of satire. In ABC‘s new series Frontline, Kennedy plays the part of power-dressing, career-driven reporter Brooke Vandenberg (pictured). “Brooke doesn’t really need to be a great journalist because she knows how to interview people,” Kennedy told TV Week. “She knows how to put her head to the side and nod, she knows how to shove a whole lot of cutaways into a story, and she uses her hands when she walks, which is almost mandatory for any current affairs reporter. She can emulate that classic Jana (Wendt) style very well. But she’s also aware that she’s only got about 10 years left on camera. Female news presenters seem to be ditched, really, after they hit 40.” Although Kennedy plays the fictional current affairs show’s only female reporter, Frontline has a number of female characters — including researcher-production assistant Emma (Alison Whyte) and network publicist Jan Wheelan (Genevieve Mooy).


  • Actor Steve Bastoni has signed on to do the fourth series of ABC‘s Police Rescue, re-joining Gary Sweet and Sonia Todd. One cast member who won’t be back is Belinda Cotterill, who has signed a three-year contract with Over The Hill, Gary Reilly‘s new comedy-drama for the Seven Network.
  • Singer Monica Trapaga had been courted by Westside Productions (producer of E Street) for its new Nine Network sitcom Norman, Is That You?, but Nine executives weren’t so thrilled about employing the Play School presenter in an adult comedy role. The role of widowed mother of two, Lilian, will now be played by Susan Lyon. Trapaga has since been in negotiation with ABC about hosting a new lifestyle series, Living In The Nineties.
  • Rumour has it that Network Ten is considering moving its late night program Sports Tonight into the 7.00pm timeslot, recently vacated by the axed Alan Jones Live. Seven and Nine executives are said to be thrilled at the prospect — as they don’t think Sports Tonight will present any credible threat against Home And Away and Sale Of The Century.
  • Network Ten‘s two new dramas are being shifted to new timeslots. Heartbreak High this week moves from 6.30pm Sunday to 7.30pm Wednesday, and A Country Practice is to move to Saturday from next week.

Lawrie Masterson: The View From Here

brunolawrence“Maybe the expectations were too high. The word coming out of the ABC was that the pilot of Frontline had been the funniest program anyone had seen in years, and the series itself would be a revelation. With The Late Show now gone from our screens, there was a high sense of anticipation surrounding this new offering from some members of The D Generation team. But — somewhat like the current affairs shows out of which it endeavours to take the mickey — Frontline chugged off to a patchy and slightly disappointing start. Frontline‘s premiere episode wasn’t entirely a let-down, mind you. Far from it, in fact. Everyone who writes about television is talking about the publicist, Jan Wheelan, played by Genevieve Mooy, but the stand-out character for mine is the executive producer, Brian Thompson, as played by that highly competent actor Bruno Lawrence (pictured).”

Program Highlights (Melbourne, May 28-June 5):
Saturday: The NBL Mitsubishi Challenge (12am, Ten) features Brisbane versus Sydney.

Sunday: Sunday AFL includes Brisbane Bears versus North Melbourne (2pm, Seven), live from Brisbane, and Adelaide Crows versus Fitzroy (5.30pm, Seven), live from Adelaide. Sunday night movies are Wedlock (Seven), The Godfather: Part III (repeat, Nine) and White Men Can’t Jump (Ten).

Monday: In Neighbours (6.30pm, Ten), Annalise (Kimberley Davies) joins Mark (Bruce Samazan) at the farm where tensions are running high. British film-maker Peter Greenaway is the guest on The Talk Show (7.30pm, SBS). In Healthy Wealthy And Wise (7.30pm, Ten), for World Environment Week Lyn Talbot gives advice on green shopping and environmentally safe products.

Tuesday: In Blue Heelers (7.30pm, Seven), Wayne’s (Grant Bowler) hero comes to Mt Thomas, where he finds it hard to live up to expectations. In GP (8.30pm, ABC), an unexpected visit by Martin’s (Damian Rice) father presents him with a dilemma.

hughbaldwinWednesday: In Heartbreak High (7.30pm, Ten), after schoolteacher Graham (Hugh Baldwin, pictured with Doris Younane) is accused of homosexual behaviour, he becomes the subject of harassment in the classroom and schoolyard, escalating to an off-campus bashing. World Series Debating (8.30pm, ABC) tackles the topic ‘That Science Is A Health Hazard’, featuring Jean Kittson, Phillip Adams, Lex Marinos, Dr John Funder and moderator Campbell McComas.

Thursday: In Neighbours (6.30pm, Ten), Mark (Bruce Samazan) is already tiring of his father (Ivar Kants), who plans to extend his stay. Comedy-drama series The Damnation Of Harvey McHugh (8.30pm, ABC) debuts, starring Aaron Blabey, Philip Quast and Monica Maughan.

rebekahelmaloglou_0001Friday: In The Great Outdoors (7.30pm, Seven), guest reporter Rebekah Elmaloglou (pictured) presents the first of three reports on holiday camps for kids, Penny Cook visits New Zealand’s Southern Alps, Bridget Adams goes bird watching in Queensland, and Ted Egan explores the Davenport Ranges in the Northern Territory.

Source: TV Week (Melbourne edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide. 28 May 1994. Southdown Press.




Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2014/05/1994-may-28-june-3.html

May 23 2014

Roger Climpson receives Lifetime Achievement Award

rogerclimpsonFormer television newsreader Roger Climpson has received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the recent Christian Media Awards Annual Gala held in Queensland.

Climpson has been involved with Christian broadcasting for over 50 years. He was a longtime presenter and Board Member at Hope Media, which includes Sydney radio station Hope 103.2 (formerly 2CBA), and for ten years was Chairman of Hope Media.

Although his television career started at TCN9 Sydney, for over twenty years he was newsreader for ATN7. He also became known across Australia as host of the original This Is Your Life and the Sammy Awards in the 1970s. He later hosted the SBS series Going Strong in the 1980s and Seven’s remake of Australia’s Most Wanted in the 1990s.

Source: Radioinfo, Celebrity Speakers



Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2014/05/roger-climpson-receives-lifetime-achievement-award.html

May 21 2014

Ten puts Wake Up to sleep, axes news jobs

wakeup_0002Network Ten‘s hopes of entering the breakfast TV market have been dashed for a second time, with Wake Up to make its final appearance this Friday.

Also to finish up at the end of the week are Ten’s early, morning and late news bulletins.

As many as 150 jobs are expected to be cut following a review of the network’s news and other operations. International bureaus may also be affected or shut down and the network is to embark on a program of voluntary redundancies — barely 18 months since the last round of staff cuts.

Ten’s mid-morning chat show Studio 10, with presenters Ita Buttrose, Joe Hildebrand, Sarah Harris and Jessica Rowe, has escaped the axe.

Wake Up was launched amid much fanfare in November last year. Both Wake Up and Studio 10 were initiatives of former Sunrise producer Adam Boland who had joined Ten from Seven early last year. In the case of Wake Up, much was spent on decking out the Manly surf club with a television studio and a fibre-optic link back to Ten’s main premises in the the suburb of Pyrmont.

Wake Up initially hoped to offer a point of difference to Sunrise and Today with a promised emphasis on music performances and a more relaxed atmosphere with its beach backdrop. Only days after the program launched Boland took extended sick leave and was to resign shortly after. Meanwhile, co-host Natasha Exelby was removed from the program and the format of state-based news updates was abandoned. News presenter Nuala Hafner was due to shift from Melbourne, where the news updates were presented from a studio at Federation Square, to join co-hosts Natarsha Belling and James Mathison at Manly.

Ratings for Wake Up failed to improve on those of its predecessor, Breakfast, with figures averaging around the 30,000 mark nationally. Sunrise and Today both average around ten times that number.

The late night edition of Ten Eyewitness News was relaunched earlier this year with Hugh Riminton as presenter.

Peter Meakin, the former Nine and Seven news boss who was hired last year to boost Ten’s news profile, has been left with a much smaller portfolio to manage — with just the 5.00pm Ten Eyewitness News and The Project as ongoing news outlets.

“Clearly the board has had a look at it and this is the decision they’ve made and I guess we have to live it,” he told Fairfax Media. “Whether I disagree with the cuts is purely academic. I’m not briefed to run the company and have very little financial experience.”

Last month Ten had announced a half-year loss of $8 million.

Source: The Age, ABC, Sydney Morning Herald





Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2014/05/ten-puts-wake-up-to-sleep-axes-news-jobs.html

May 18 2014

1994: May 21-27

tvweek_210594Cover: Mel Gibson

Parliament snubs ABC series
The upcoming ABC series The Damnation Of Harvey McHugh seemingly hasn’t won many friends in high places — with the media launch planned for Victoria’s Parliament House banned by the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, John Delzoppo. “I’ve seen a script, and it doesn’t paint parliament or parliamentarians in a particularly good light,” Delzoppo says. “I had to deny the request (to host the event) because we have strict guidelines that have been in place for a long time, and the launch of The Damnation Of Harvey McHugh was not in accord with those guidelines,” he told TV Week. “We won’t allow (Parliament’s) Queen’s Hall to be used for commercial purposes, political purposes or in any production where Parliament is ridiculed or satirised.” The Damnation Of Harvey McHugh, with cast including Aaron Blabey, Daniel Rigney, Monica Maughan and Graham Dow, is due to debut on ABC next month.

Rachel delivers her resignation
Rachel Blakely has quit Neighbours after three years in the role of Gaby Willis. “I’ve had a really good stint on a daily basis, and it was wonderful. But it’s time to move on,” she told TV Week. She is keen to develop her acting skills. “I’ll be taking classes and working on my craft, and hoping for other work. That’s all anyone can do. I’m not looking for work in another long-running show, though. If I was going to do that, I’d stay where I am, because I love it.” Blakely will record her last scenes in July but will be seen on screen until the end of August.

Bud’s acting crazy!budtingwell_0002
Last year, veteran actor and director Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell was hired to direct five episodes of Seven‘s Newlyweds, which featured Chris Gabardi as newly-wedded husband Peter Roberts. Now, the roles are reversed. Both Gabardi and Tingwell are appearing in the play Cosi, now playing in Melbourne. Gabardi plays Lewis, a university graduate who scores his first big directing job — his “cast” being a group of patients from a mental health institution. Tingwell plays Henry, one of the seven patients. “I am running around the stage quite a lot and doing things I haven’t done in years,” Tingwell told TV Week. “I’m having a marvellous time.” There is no word yet on whether Newlyweds will go into a third series — with series two ending with Allie (Annie Jones) finding out she is pregnant. “I think there will be another series,” Gabardi said. “There were so many loose ends at the end of the last series. I’d like to know what it’s like to be a father!”

Allan scores with ACP
Composer Allan Zavod isn’t concerned if nobody notices his hard work on A Country Practice. His incidental music for the series is not supposed to be noticed as such, but is meant to emphasise the action. “You can synchronise the music to feeling of a scene,” he told TV Week. “You can develop themes for each character and use music to support the emotions.” He was asked to compose the music for A Country Practice when it moved across to Network Ten. “When ACP was at Seven, no-one was doing the incidental music. They were using library music. Mike Perjanik composed the opening and closing theme music for ACP 12 years ago. I did consider making a bid to write a new theme, or to update the old one. But the series has changed channels and some characters, so for now there should be some things that don’t change.” Zavod, whose career began in the 1960s after graduating from the University of Melbourne, says his most successful money earner has been the 1987 horror movie The Howling III. “It certainly wasn’t the best film I’ve worked on,” he laughs. “But it’s always being played on cable TV in the US, to these millions of cult viewers. And every time it airs, I get paid royalties!”


  • Blue Heelers star John Wood admits that he almost didn’t get the part of Senior Sargeant Tom Croydon because he had accepted a part in Paradise Beach! “There was a very strong chance of me joining Paradise Beach,” he told TV Week. “It really was just a matter of hours. I was asked to join Paradise Beach on a Wednesday. I rang my agent on the Friday at 3pm and said, ‘Tell them I’ll do it’. At 6pm on the same day I got the call from the people at Blue Heelers, so I was very fortunate to be able to change my mind and stay in my home town (Melbourne).”
  • peterobrienfrancisbellFormer Neighbours star Peter O’Brien has paid tribute to Francis Bell, who played his on screen father Max Ramsay in the first two years of the long-running series. Bell fell to his death from the roof of an 11-storey building in Auckland after battling depression. “He was a very jovial character,” O’Brien (pictured with Bell in Neighbours‘ early days) told TV Week. “He had real personality and presence and loved people and life. That’s why this is all a bit difficult to understand… it’s really sad that he’s gone.”
  • Network Ten‘s Heartbreak High could be set to move timeslots. At a cost of $240,000 per episode, it’s reported to be the costliest hour of drama on television and may have to find a new timeslot if it can’t get the ratings to justify its plum position of 6.30pm Sunday. By comparison, A Country Practice comes in at around $200,000 an episode, ahead of Blue Heelers. Seven’s in-house production Home And Away comes in as the cheapest, at $100,000.
  • The Nine Network has given the green light to three two-hour spin-off telemovies from Singapore Sling, the drama that screened earlier this year starring John Waters and Deborra-Lee Furness. Waters is confirmed for the spin-off projects, but Furness will not be appearing. A new female lead is yet to be cast.
  • The Comedy Company may have been some years ago, but Mark Mitchell, whose character Con The Fruiterer became one of the show’s most famous, has never been busier. He is currently hosting ABC‘s children’s game show EC Lift Off as Mr Fish, the schoolteacher character he played in the original Lift Off series. He is also hosting episodes of Fawlty Towers for the Seven Network, has played the part of a sleazy photographer in Paradise Beach, and has completed a starring role as former New Zealand Prime Minister David Lange in the new telemovie, Fallout.

Lawrie Masterson: The View From Here

“The major problem about referring to something as a “history”, then trying to cram it into a television hour, is that you are bound to overlook one or more figures central to your topic. Such is the case with Punchlines: A Seriously Funny History. The title suggests a look back at comedy down the years, but in this country surely you could not do that without at least one mention of the name Paul Hogan. He did, after all, write and star in Australia’s most successful movie, and it was a comedy. You’d have to take more than a passing glance at Barry Humphries. You’d have to devote a few minutes, rather than seconds, to Graham Kennedy. And, from the new wave, what about acts such as the manic Doug Anthony All Stars? Punchlines: A Seriously Funny History skims over Humphries and Kennedy and doesn’t even mention Hoges or the Dougs, so low marks for the title. The show itself, however, does take a lingering look at the Melbourne comedy scene over the past 20 years or so, with an emphasis on some of the acts to emerge from the venues that sprung up, then closed down or expanded somewhere else, in the area around what now is one of the city’s most famous restaurant rows, Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.”

Program Highlights (Melbourne, May 21-27):
Saturday: Craig McLachlan, performing songs from the musical Grease, is one of the acts in the Royal Variety Performance (8.30pm, Seven), held late last year at the Dominion Theatre, London, attended by Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh.

Sunday: Sunday night movies are City Of Joy (Seven), Fever (Nine) and Kindergarten Cop (repeat, Ten).

Monday: In Healthy Wealthy And Wise (7.30pm, Ten), Tonia Todman transforms a terracotta pot, Jim Brown visits Queensland’s Glasshouse Mountains, Ronnie Burns looks at a large cacti collection, and Iain Hewitson cooks fresh perch. Former South Australian premier Don Dunstan guests on The Talk Show (7.30pm, SBS). New South Wales and Queensland battle it out in the Rugby League State Of Origin (9.30pm, Nine).

Tuesday: In Blue Heelers (7.30pm, Seven), when Tom (John Wood) goes on leave, the Blue Heelers worry that he may be transferred to Melbourne — and the tough attitude of Tom’s replacement Charlie Glover (John Jarratt) leads to confrontation with the officers . In GP (8.30pm, ABC), William (Michael Craig) falls for an unhappily-married woman, then treats her husband after he suffers a stroke.

Wednesday: The one-hour special Punchlines: A Seriously Funny History (8.30pm, ABC) recounts a generation of Australia’s comedic history, including interviews with Rachel Berger, Judith Lucy, Ian McFadyen, Rod Quantock and Mark Little.

Thursday: In Neighbours (6.30pm, Ten), Mark (Bruce Samazan) is both shocked and angered to discover his mother, Sally (Helen Rollinson) is near death. In Beyond 2000 (7.30pm, Ten), Iain Finlay reports on a new robotic arm developed in Holland that will improve life for the physically impaired, Anthony Griffis looks at a talking greeting card which records personal messages, and Dr Caroline West demonstrates a unit that uses hot air to reduce the volume of household garbage.

Friday: In Home And Away (7pm, Seven), Shane’s (Dieter Brummer) attempt to make money brings disastrous results for Alf (Ray Meagher). Friday Night AFL (8.30pm, Seven) features live coverage of West Coast Eagles versus Sydney Swans from the WACA, Perth. The Sound Of Music, the 1965 movie classic starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, makes a repeat screening (8.30pm, Ten).

Source: TV Week (Melbourne edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide. 21 May 1994. Southdown Press.




Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2014/05/1994-may-21-27.html

May 17 2014

KAK denies Ten comeback… and stirs up history

kerriannekennerleytimwebsterFormer daytime TV queen Kerri-Anne Kennerley has denied rumours that she is headed for a return to the Ten Network to reprise the classic Good Morning Australia format.

“Thirty years of 5am starts, hmmm, let me think about that,” Kennerley told News.com.au, reflecting on a lengthy career that has included 11 years on the original Good Morning Australia and nine years on Mornings With Kerri-Anne. “Look it’s sort of back to the future. All I know is there are clearly a few issues” — referring to the ratings struggles of Ten’s current breakfast show Wake Up.

She added that despite some recent appearances on Ten, including guest spots on The Project and Wake Up, she is not contracted to anyone and is still a free agent.

Kennerley then gave her take on where the financial wheels fell off the network after its heyday in the 1980s:

“Channel Ten in those days was number one.

“The news was number one, Perfect Match was the lead in and that was a hugely rated program.

“It was number one all round.

“And right towards the end, when the Canadians bought Channel 10 and pulled the plug on everything, it all wound down. And that’s when they started putting The Simpsons on.

“It hasn’t been the same since and it is a shame.

It was actually the Canadians who rescued the network, not pulled the plug as Kennerley asserts now.

It is true, Ten was very successful during the 1980s. Rupert Murdoch had built up the network’s profile after buying TEN10 Sydney and ATV10 in Melbourne. The big cheques were flying thick and fast with big budget mini-series and dramas, blockbuster movies and securing the rights to two Olympic Games — Los Angeles in 1984 and Seoul in 1988. Eyewitness News had become a ratings hit, challenging the dominance of National Nine News. Perfect Match set ratings records for the 5.30pm timeslot when it began in 1984, and the risk in taking over Neighbours from the Seven Network was paying dividends with high ratings and overseas sales.

Good Morning Australia, which Kennerley co-hosted alongside a changing line-up of male colleagues (including Tim Webster, pictured), was a consistent performer. It began in February 1981 and triggered the revival of breakfast news on TV, leading to Nine launching Today the following year.

But the rot set in later in the decade. The extravagant spending and expensive contracts indulged in by all three commercial networks from their next generation owners — Christopher Skase at Seven, Alan Bond at Nine and Frank Lowy at Ten — had caught up with them as the economy fell into recession. In Ten’s case the situation was not helped by a raft of new shows — including US comedies Roseanne and Sledgehammer, drama Thirtysomething and local soap E Street — failing to meet their ratings expectations.

An attempt to halt the ratings slide led to the hiring of an American TV executive, Bob Shanks, who saw Ten’s recovery in game shows and a new branding — 10 TV Australia. The revamp saw ratings drop further — with most of the new game shows axed after only months and Shanks sent back to the US.

TenhdlinA year later Ten had fallen into receivership and had faced massive budget cuts and staff redundancies as it sought to stop losses amounting to $2 million a week across the network.

Good Morning Australia was fortunate as one of the few shows to survive, but had to make do with a smaller budget. (Kennerley left the program at the end of 1991 and it continued for another twelve months before the name was adopted by Bert Newton‘s mid-morning show in 1993)

The receivership led to a much leaner organisation and with the help of shows like The Simpsons, it started to claw back market share and advertising revenue by targetting the under-40 age groups.

Canadian media company CanWest came on board as a major shareholder shortly after and continued to drive Ten’s move back into profitability.

CanWest sold their 50.1 per cent share in the network in 2009 — ironically at a time when Ten was on a ratings climb with new shows MasterChef Australia and Talkin’ ’bout Your Generation.

Since then the network has been struck by management instability, a downturn in the advertising market and a confused programming strategy as it comes to grips with the multi-channel environment and its former youth demographic now being targetted by a range of traditional and non-traditional media.

Last year Ten ended the year behind the ABC in prime time ratings for the first time in decades — possibly ever.

Source: TV Tonight, News.com.au, Sydney Morning Herald


Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2014/05/kak-denies-ten-comeback-and-stirs-up-history.html

May 15 2014

TV veteran gives Abbott a blast

vilmawardNetwork Ten‘s breakfast program Wake Up hasn’t succeeded in gaining much of an audience since it launched in November last year — but an interview on Wednesday’s program has caused a stir on social media.

The morning after Treasurer Joe Hockey handed out his “heavy lifting” federal budget, Prime Minister Tony Abbott was facing the music on Wake Up from feisty pensioner “Vilma”, who wasn’t having a bar of this budget.

Some keen twitterers had observed that “Vilma” wasn’t just an anonymous pensioner — but rather Vilma Ward, a well-known identity in Queensland and a long-standing campaigner on issues ranging from morality to consumerism — and politics.

First coming to prominence in the 1960s, she was a familiar face to Queensland television viewers on panel shows like Bailey And The Birds (a local Beauty And The Beast) and in the 1980s featured on the Seven Network‘s national Beauty And The Beast.


Vilma Ward, pictured right, in Bailey And The Birds


YouTube: Yogiew2, Wake Up
Source: TV Week, 5 April 1980


Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2014/05/tv-veteran-gives-abbott-a-blast.html

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